Note to Juan

John R. Ernst ernst at
Fri Nov 24 10:40:08 MST 1995

Dear Juan,

You're clear.   I do not think that is a problem.

I do not know what the cannons/candies 4% means.

The increases in the tech comp, like increases in
real wages and like increases in productivity would
be expressed as percentages.  That is, whatever units
you use would have to cancel.   Frankly, I look at the
matter as an index number problem.

Let me see if this is helpful.  The actual numerical example
in the GRUNDRISSE (pp 383-85), the stuff I pointed to and
you found in Book III (pp108-9) of CAPITAL , and the
passage from Marx in the second paragraph of Sec 4,
Ch 15, Book III of CAPITAL all present the same idea
from Marx himself.  The pattern of investment Marx uses
would not result in a falling rate of profit in neo-Ricardian
thinking.   Hence, they simply do not look at these sections.
The types of investment that they impute to Marx's thought
are quite different. They then argue against it (Sweezy using
Dobb's interpretation) or "prove" that a FRP cannot occur as
we see in Okishio.

To get at this, I thought it might be a good idea to look at
the technical compostition of captial and productivity.  After
our prolonged exchange concerning this, I think I was wrong.
Instead, I suggest we simply gain clarity on these arguments
against Marx (See above.) and go at them. Ultimately, their
"method"  will involve a misuse of the concept of value.

Thus, our first task would be to see how and why they
deny that the FRP would occur given that investment takes
place as Marx describes in the examples cited.



On  Fri, 24 Nov 1995 Juan Inigo <jinigo at> said:

>John Ernst writes
>>We seem to be crossing paths in this thing.  At any
>>rate,  as you will see I will not respond directly to
>>your 11/23 post.  The new ground you cover which,
>>at this point, we can regard as a side issue is
>>worth mentioning.   Do you really want to say that
>>we can not speak of increases in the real wage for
>>the overall economy from year to year?  Do you
>>really want to say that we can not speak of increases
>>in productivity for the overall economy from year to
>>year?   Maybe I am not reading your post correctly
>>but I'd like some clarification.
>John, what I have really said again and again is that I want _you_ to tell

>_me_, since _you_ claim that it is possible to construct a model including

>a relation between increases in technical composition and in productivity,

>in what UNITS do you measure those increases. (To avoid wasting more time,

>please notice that in my 11/23 post I have shown that units of weight do
>not fit concerning machines and tools with respect to technical
>composition, since exactly the same technical change in those elemnts
>be seen as an increase or a decrease in this composition depending on the
>materials they are made of). To repeat myself:
>>a) The concrete "cannons/candies 4%" case is solved by adding increases
>>productivity measured in units of ... ?
>>a) The increase in the technical composition of capital is measured in
>>of ... ?
>Is it clear enough now?
>Juan Inigo
>jinigo at

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